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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make it Count!

The Fabulous B@ker Blog has hit a milestone as we celebrate our SECOND Leap Year. In case you missed it, here is the post from February 29, 2008. Make your extra day a good one - make it count! We're making it count by paying for Cam's last quarter (bill due today). So, let me get this straight: if there was no February 29, which is the bill's due date, does that mean we wouldn't have to pay the bill? Wishful thinking...

Speaking of wacky dates, the other day on NPR I heard a piece about George Washington's birthday, and how he was born on February 11, 1731 but due to a change from the Julian calendar ("Old Style") to the Gregorian calendar ("New Style") in 1752 his birthday became February 22, 1732, which he opted to observe. However the nation continues to celebrate his special day on February 11, even though that's the "Old Style" date. Some other fascinating tidbits about the change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar (source: Wikipedia):
  • The new year used to start on March 25
  • For a period of 170 years (1582–1752), both dating systems were in concurrent use in different parts of Western Europe and its colonies. The Julian calendar had drifted by 11 days from the solar calendar (due to its excess of leap years), so dates differ between the systems.
Here's a chart of the correction that occurred due to the calendar change from Julian to Gregorian:
Time period (from
1 March of first year to
28 February of last year)
Сorrection, days
1–100−2
100–200−1
200–3000
300–500+1
500–600+2
600–700+3
700–900+4
900–1000+5
1000–1100+6
1100–1300+7
1300–1400+8
1400–1500+9
1500–1700+10
1700–1800+11
1800–1900+12
1900–2100+13
2100–2200+14
It's just confusing enough, isn't it? Why do people have to screw with the calendar? Or time for that matter? 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sentimental Fool

Annalisse and I took a quick trip up north on Wednesday to Mary's house, where we stayed overnight and went to Massena on Thursday to see Mom. I was long overdue since I had not been up to visit since September.

Now that Mom is living with Carol (who is doing an awesome job taking care of her - I am eternally grateful), Mom's house sits empty with regular check-ins by Carol and her companion, Paul. This last trip I decided to take the family photo albums home with me for safe keeping. If I were to choose anything to take out of the house it would be those photo albums. My personal effects are long gone (since I moved out away 1984) so there's really no trace of me left in the house anymore, but I wanted to be sure the albums were kept safe.

Sure, it's interesting enough to look at the endless pictures of trips my parents took, parties, picnics, and, of course, THE ZILLION PICTURES of my niece, Nicole (love you, Nic!), but what I was mostly interested in were the old old pictures. Out of the 10 albums I brought home, I really hit the jackpot with one album in particular, which yielded this gem, taken in Nonnie's living room on Martin Street:

Judy, cousin Jeannie, Mary holding cousin Rosanne, and Carol
I still remember those orange and yellow pants. Weren't we all cute? Sisters and cousins beware: there are many more where this came from!

Night Sky

Over the last couple of days (and a couple to come) the sky has put on a great show with the the bright crescent moon, Jupiter and Venus clearly in view. While not lined up (last night at least), it's still pretty cool and a great reminder that there is so much more beyond our Earth. The picture at right depicts how it looked to us last night, although the moon was a larger sliver and very bright. According to this article, Mercury should be visible (under the Moon) as well. I'll have to check tonight at dusk to see if I can find it.

It's a times like this that I wish I had a telescope.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Seamstress

For some reason I was thinking about the lost art of sewing this week. I think it might be because I was at a street party with my neighbor, Wendy, who is a professional seamstress, and I am simply in awe of the cool things she sews and creates. In particular, we were at a baby shower for our neighbor Stephanie a couple of weeks ago and Wendy  made the mom-to-be a really cute long john onesie sleeper. It might sound like nothing much but when you're used to buying baby clothes from stores it really is a novelty to see something that was actually created by hand.

I feel like I can really appreciate this handiwork because I come from a family of seamstresses. My Mémère Moquin (my maternal [thanks for the catch, Aunt Sher] grandmother) was a seamstress who took in sewing to help support the family. She made my mother's wedding dress and many dresses and other articles of clothing while I was growing up. On Sundays when we would visit her we would always be toting a bag of things to mend or shorten. Then, her daughter, my Aunt Jackie, took up where she left off, making her daughter brenda's, as well as my sister's, wedding dress and most of her own clothing. Her daughter, Brenda, took over from there and has made clothes for years. 

Obviously Aline's (my mother!) daughter's did not inherit Mémère's grand sewing skills, and unfortunately for our family, I think the legacy of sewing will end with cousin Brenda. (EXCEPT for my mother-in-law Pat who has sewn for years and took up quilting just 10 years ago, and has since made hundreds of quilts and other amazing and beautiful home accent items such as runners, wall hangings, purses, placemats...you name it.)

Still, it seems like not too many young people sew these days, and with all the school budget cuts I wonder if it's even offered in schools anymore. What a shame. It's such a cool skill to have and a true dying art.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hey 19!

At a debate last fall.
Today is my "big boy" Cam's 19th birthday. As I probably say in every year's birthday post, I cannot even fathom how 19 years have gone by so quickly. I'm so proud of him and his bright prospects for the future!!

Yesterday my coworkers and I were chatting about how we can remember every detail leading up to the days before and after the births of our kids (in particular, Lynne's daughter Maggie was born the day before Cam, same year). I don't think kids understand how deeply their births affect their mothers, and probably won't understand it until they have children.

Every year I relive the days before Cam was born; how he was 2 1/2 weeks early (his original due date being they awesomely numerically cool 3/9/93), the events of the day before (I left work not knowing if I'd be back the next day; Mark had bowling that Wednesday night; my friend Heather called and we chatted for a while), my water breaking at 2am, Mark having to go into work in the middle of the night to "deliver" the software that was due the next day; then us heading to the hospital for a good day's work (my labor started in earnest at 9am and Cam was born - after much trouble which ended in a vacuum extraction - at 5pm). Too much detail? See, I told you that I relive it every year.

This will be me in 20 years:


Because I think I will relive that wonderful day until I take my last breath!

Happy Birthday, Cameron! (I guess you weren't a girl after all!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Looks Like "I've" Made It


Tonight a neighbor saw me in Wegmans and mentioned I was on "her list" - that she was going to invite me to play "Bunco" with a group of cardplayers who are invited to play Euchre on occasional weekends.

ME! BUNCO! Just like all those stay-at-home moms! 

Wow! BUNCO! The game of housewives everywhere! I can't believe it!

Okay, I admit it. I don't know how to play Bunco. I think it involves tossing dice and drinking wine. All I know is that in my last neighborhood all the women got together and played Bunco, and I was never invited. It seemed like they had all bonded as stay-at-home moms and I was a bit of an outsider, being one of the only working women in the group. I always wondered what they did all day once their kids were all in school. [One woman I know who is a stay-at-home mom (and whose kids are in school all day) has a home that is a complete mess. I wonder what she does all day when kids are gone?] I fancied writing an undercover novel entitled "The Secret Life of the Suburban Wife," and still may someday. 

Nothing against stay-at-home moms. I even resented it a bit that I wasn't able to stay home with the kids when they were little, but it looks like the fruits of my labor on the street are paying off.

Did I know that someday it would all lead to Bunco?!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Stairs and The Stove

Just because we know you've been wondering and wondering how the carpeted stairs and the new stove is doing...
The view looking down. Scary!
Bottom set of stairs.
The Stairs

The new stair runner was installed a couple of weeks ago and looks awesome, begging the question:

Will Jasper now go down the stairs?

The answer is : Yes...finally. Right after the carpet came, he would not only not go downstairs, he also would not go upstairs. Seriously, has there ever been more of a chickeny dog? We finally convinced him to go up and downstairs, but it took a lot of coaxing and a fair amount of treats. Now, with only a little hesitation at the top landing, he calmly goes step by step down, instead of running and slipping the whole way. Money well spent?

The Stove

You must remember the story of Silver, the fancy new stove that replaced Goldie, our vintage '70s Harvest Gold stove. What I didn't tell you about Silver was that when it was unwrapped and installed, the "3" key on the digital keypad did not light up. Not  a huge deal since the "3" worked, it just didn't light up. Mostly only bothersome because the stove was new and cost a lot of $$.

So began the odyssey of getting the new stove fixed. Six weeks and two-going-on-three service calls later, the "3" still doesn't work. The last repairman even tried to tell me that maybe it was designed that way: that the 3 is not meant to light up. HA! I had just about had it by then and let him know.


Today I got a call from Sears that they had contacted the GE engineers and were now shipping a new and different part. What was really just a small issue with the stove is now really starting to p*ss me off. It's becoming more about principle since there's really no issue of inconvenience. I'm giving them one more chance to fix it then I may demand a new stove, which is kind of silly just because of a "3."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mundane Reigns

Same great taste, but less filling.

You know when we're in the middle of winter with not much going on when there's nothing newsworthy for the B@ker Blog. Boring, cold winter. You'll be the first to know if anything exciting happens. Check back!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Miss Mary Celebrates Another BIG DAY

Happy Birthday to my OLDEST sister, Mary, today as she celebrates her 5X birthday. She ordered me not to old post pictures of her. I never was that great at following directions.

And there are more where these came from. Many, many more. Voluminous photo albums full. I'll probably be able to keep posting new pictures of her well beyond her 90th birthday.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Can See Spring From My Backyard

It's here! My favorite holiday of the year!! Today I'm donning brown from head to toe (my groundhog outfit) and am looking forward to our summer picnic at work.

It's a little anti-climactic seeing we've really had no winter to speak of, but the fact remains:

THERE IS ONLY SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER!

I think I can hold out a little longer.